I write about a lot of WordPress plugins and services on this site, but rarely does it work to write about one at the point that I am starting to use it myself.
I have also written a lot about social. I’ve talked about it and shared my own strategies around the scheduling of social. Through testing, I’ve found what works and what doesn’t and have crafted that part of my business slowly and successfully.
I’ve shared plenty about the tools I use. For scheduling, it has been CoSchedule for quite some time. In fact, since August 2015.
But it’s time for a change.
Along Came Social Web Suite
If you go to WordCamps, you might have experienced that feeling when you meet someone and you just know… okay, these are good people and I know they are going to become colleagues and friends of mine. Call it my intuition. But that has been the case with Tina Todorovic and Dejan Markovic from Social Web Suite. If you have met them yourself, you will know what I mean.
For quite some time, their new product has been in beta. They were working hard, fine-tuning it before the formal release, which happened this month. And damn, it was worth the wait. There may had been a time that I would have said I’m good with what I’m using and have no plans on switching. But hey, I’m a flexible guy and if there’s one thing I believe, it’s never say never.
A Dive Into Social Web Suite for WordPress
Since I am making the switch myself right now, this is how I am doing this post. The first part is text and screenshots as I walk through it and set things up. I’m not going to get into a multi-hour video, but I’ll close with a video giving you an overview of what I have done.
So let’s do this.
Also, there is a link at the end of this post that will give you 20% off your first year.
Installing the Plugin and Setting Up Your Site
There are several features to this plugin. For a quick overview, here is a list for you. (Note: This is what’s available at the time of this post. I’m sure more features will be added and I will attempt to update this post as they are released.)
- Automation, scheduling and publishing all your posts/pages/custom post types to your favorite social networks
- Detailed social analytics with in-depth view and ready access to your last-30-shares analytics
- A ready supply of things to share – if no new post was published, Social Web Suite will share posts based on the settings you have chosen automatically
- A multitude of choices for hashtags – nine options, including the ability to choose the hashtags for each social account separately— or every post/page/custom post type
- Your own bit.ly analytics integrated and in the same place as your other social analytics
- Custom post types & custom taxonomies supported
- Ability to revive old posts – schedule and re-share them again with Social Web Suite
- Mix it up a little – ** Add custom messages to your posts/pages/custom post types instead of a post title
- Share something instantly to all your favorite social networks or schedule it to be shared later
- Set up and connect everything in just a few minutes with the easy walk-through wizard
- Send multiple times: Publish or update status 1, 2 or 3 or more times to social networks.
- Custom scheduling feature to schedule your content on all major social networks.
- Send posts to social media accounts as pure links, without the image attached or with featured image – your choice
- RSS – share your favorite blogs via RSS and categories them for easy sharing
- Coundown timer – for all posts in your queue you can see a real-time countdown for post shares
You will initially install it from WordPress.org for a 30-day trial and then if you find it is the solution for you, there are a few different plans to choose from. Once installed and activated, it will ask you to Connect to Social Web:
After you log into your account on their site or create an account, you will get this screen:
Next I start configuring my site:
You can set your auto-sharing starting with these options. You will be also able to schedule posts. This is one of the things that attracted me to this plugin.
You can do posts, pages, or both. In my case, I only want posts auto-shared. You can also set the number to be shared at once, if that’s important to you. You can also choose how many times a page or post can be shared. This number might be dependent on the number of posts you have. If you don’t blog quite as much, it might would be safest to set this at a lower number so you aren’t repeating yourself too much. But with a larger amount that you may have to share, that number would go up.
The remaining options are pretty self-explanatory and will depend on your needs. But think about whether you tick the Share on Update. If you are like me and constantly tweaking posts, or perhaps even fixing a typo, you may not want to share it with the update button.
There are two very cool things that you can control here.
You can use hashtags globally on auto-shares using categories, tags or custom hashtags.
This setting controls the minimum and maximum age of a post that can be auto-shared. This is a fantastic setting for anyone who has a blog that is several years old and a lot of its content isn’t evergreen.
This setting will depend on your own strategy. I will go over my thoughts more in the video, but if you have a lot of posts, there may be specific categories that you will want to include or exclude. An example would be if you write posts about your events or workshops. These are more likely to be shared by scheduling than resharing because you want to share them during a specific time period.
Posts and Pages
You can exclude specific pages and posts here as well as any custom post types. As you can see, I am excluding my affiliate link and donation plugins because I don’t want them to pop up when I am auto-sharing.
Connecting Social Profiles on Social Web Suites
Depending on what plugin you have used in the past, you have probably experienced a lot of different options for doing this. Some make it simple, and some, you might have to go grab your URL or something else. Social Web Suites makes it easy.
Here is the page to get you started.
I’m not going to take you through each one, but let’s set up my Twitter profile. I simply click on it and get this option to authorize it. Pretty standard stuff when it comes to connecting an account.
Since I am logged into Twitter (it will ask you to do so if you aren’t), my account is now connected. That was easy.
You will also notice that there are some options for each account. Some, like Facebook and LinkedIn, will often ask to to re-authenticate, which is what the refresh button is for. You can also pause an account in case, for some reason, you don’t want any shares. (Note: Instagram is coming soon).
A couple of other things to note here. If you add your Facebook profile and page, the page falls under the profile it is connected with. This is a great help if you manage several social accounts.
Also, whenever you connect to a page, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, they will show you all pages you are connected to and let you choose which ones. In this case I just want to add BobWP.
Once your social profiles are connected, you need to set each one up. If we click on Twitter, you will first land on this. The first tab, Sources, lets you choose which sites you have connected to for the appropriate social account. If you are managing several accounts and sites, you can easily organize which goes with which.
Under Schedule, you can control the automated shares. I like this option as it allows me to share more on Twitter vs. Facebook, or another platform.
Settings also gives you some nice options for each specific social profile. You can see here that I can use my Bitly account. I will touch on how to connect with it later in this post.
Lastly, Analytics, which, as you can see, is coming soon. I can’t wait to use that.
Of course, you will want to go through all the social profiles you have added and set those up.
Another cool feature is the ability to add feeds from your favorites blogs and share or schedule those as well. As you can see you will create categories for the feeds which make it even easier to share entire categories.
When adding a feed, you don’t even need to know the feed, but simply the site’s URL. And also you can title the feed and either add it to an existing category and create a new one.
Now the feed shows up under the assigned category.
And if we were to click on the feed, we would get all the posts and the ability to share any one of them.
If I click on the share link, I’ll get several options for what I want to include in the share via tags. And I can compose and customize any way I want to. I can also link any other text in there, add an image, share it now or schedule it, and the gearbox gives me the chance to add any UTM parameters. I have chosen to share it on my Twitter account at the very top.
Integration with Social Web Suites
At this time, they have two integrations: Bitly and UTM parameters.
If you use Bitly, like I do, you will want to connect your account here. Once you do that, you will also have options to share directly from this page and see some stats.
I’m not going to get deep into what UTM parameters are, but if you use them, you know the power of being able to track and analyze your shares. If you don’t use them, I would at least learn more about them. And Social Web Suite makes it easy to create parameters.
Your Social Web Suite Queue
Here you find everything that is scheduled. As you can see, you also have an easy way to add a share on this page. You can toggle between a list view and a calendar view, whatever your preference.
Also you can add a quick message here or a new automated schedule. Both can come in very handy and I’ll explain in the video how I used the automated schedule here.
If you were to scroll down a bit you can see all the posts that are ready in the queue. A couple of things to note here:
- If you look at the bottom left scheduled time, you will see it actually has a countdown timer.
- That some of these posts, for example the first one, is a scheduled auto share so you don’t see any details of what the tweet share will as opposed to the second share that is a specific message that I created.
You can edit a share that is in the queue.
Switch to the calendar view.
And preview the share.
Inside Your WordPress Dashboard with Social Media Suite
Up to now, I’ve shown you the settings and options on your account on the Social Web Suites site. But you will also be able to create shares in your dashboard on posts and/or pages, for whatever you have chosen to activate.
I will give you more detail on this piece in the video, but just wanted to show you your options.
Using the Default Settings
If you use the settings you have already set up, here is what you can do per post or page:
One note on the custom message templates. As you can see, you can create the message using tags but you can also create a custom message. This is a big one for me. You can also choose how many times you want it shared. And you can create as many custom messages as needed, which is a real plus for auto-sharing posts if you don’t want to just send out the same tweet or share time and time again.
Don’t Share This
This is a great option if you have others on your team or if you want to make sure something is not ever shared, especially if you have everything on auto-share.
Share It Using the Following Settings
Here you can have the option to schedule it later or share right away, as well as additional settings.
Share It Only Between Specific Dates
Lastly, the option to share it between defined dates, which works great for posts that are time-sensitive.
A Deeper Look Into My Social Web Suite Setup
I am now going to take you into my site and show you what I have done since the install and the initial setup a few days later. I will go through these same features, this time showing you some of my scheduled shares and how I have set it up to cover my own needs and strategy.
That’s it. As you can see, there are a ton of features this brings to your social media sharing.
It gives you enough flexibility to make auto-sharing your posts customizable and streamlined. And if are a social media manager or part of a team of a larger business, there are options for custom workflows, branded reports, bulk scheduling, team permissions and advanced analytics. Something for practically any need you may have.